After the rumors about Tammi and Sam Cooke (with whom she reportedly never actually had a relationship), and her well-publicized involvement with the likes of James Brown and David Ruffin, Marvin Gaye would seem a logical next step, right? After her horrific ordeal at 11, and her tragic series of abusive relationships that began in her teens, what Tammi Terrell needed was simply a friend. By both of their accounts, as well as those of people close to them, Gaye and Terrell were never, ever romantically involved.
Marvin Gaye had his own struggles and could perhaps relate to Tammi Terrell more than most could.
It was later claimed that Ruffin hit Terrell with a hammer and came after her with a machete, but these claims were denied by Terrell’s family as well as others with the Motown label.
Her sister Ludie Montgomery, however, claimed that Ruffin hit Terrell on the side of her face with his motorcycle helmet, resulting the end of their relationship in 1967.
As if the soured relationship with Brown wasn’t enough, more heartbreak ensued.
In 1965, Terrell became involved in a romance with legendary Temptations singer David Ruffin. However, Terrell was devastated once she learned that Ruffin already had a wife and three children, as well as another girlfriend, also living in Detroit, right under her nose.
After one particular incident with Brown backstage after a performance, Terrell asked Chandler, who witnessed the incident first hand, to take her to the bus station, so she could go home.
), Marvin struggled to find his own identity outside of his father Marvin Gay Sr’s shadow.His vocal range is legendary, as is his appeal to the fairer sex. Gaye battled drug addiction and faced tax problems which led him to flee the United States for a period.Most people also know that he was shot and killed by his own father on April 1, 1984, just one day shy of his 45th birthday.At the time of her death, Tammi was engaged to Ernest Garrett, a physician at the hospital where she was being treated for terminal brain cancer.By 1970 Terrell was confined to a wheelchair, suffered from blindness and hair loss, and weighed only 93 pounds.Ashford & Simpson, who wrote most of Marvin and Tammi’s hits, and Gaye himself, characterized the relationship as sibling-like.In fact, while most assume that Gaye was the leader of the duo, he was actually extremely shy and introverted, while Terrell was by far the more streetwise and extroverted of the two.On January 25, 1970, Terrell went into a coma and never came out of it.On March 16, 1970, Tammi Terrell succumbed to brain cancer.Those are unfortunately the kinds of stories that make the news.Taxes, death and trouble, to quote the man himself.